World Anti-Doping Agency Raises Cannabis Threshold for Athletes

By: Mike Whitman
May 17, 2013



The World Anti-Doping Agency has increased the threshold required for an athlete to test positive for cannabis use.

During a May 11 meeting, WADA’s executive committee decided to increase the threshold level for cannabis from 15 ng/L to 150 ng/L, significantly reducing the chances of an athlete testing positive for out-of-competition use.

“All samples received by laboratories post May 11 will be subject to the new threshold level,” WADA officials wrote in a news release. “As a matter of fairness and to provide consistency, WADA advises not to pursue cases currently in the results management phase where the reported concentration is less than the new threshold (150 ng/mL). Also, for any analyses conducted from May 11 onwards, laboratories are requested not to report any THC case result below the acceptable threshold, regardless of the sample receipt date.”

Marijuana testing has become a much-discussed topic in mixed martial arts in the last several years. Former Strikeforce welterweight champion and UFC title contender Nick Diaz, a medical marijuana patient in his home state of California, has twice tested positive for the drug in Nevada. Additionally, competitors like Dave Herman, Matt Riddle and Robbie Peralta have all seen tests flagged for marijuana use in the last year.

Most recently, veteran lightweight Pat Healy tested positive for the drug following his UFC 159 victory over Jim Miller, resulting in a 90-day suspension and the victory being changed to a no-contest. “Bam Bam” also saw his post-fight bonus money rescinded, which totaled $130,000.

It is currently unknown how WADA’s decision will affect the Association of Boxing Commissions and state-by-state drug testing. ABC President Tim Lueckenhoff could not immediately be reached for comment.

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